Our Goal In This Essay

In this essay we are going to look at several so-called principles of Bible study which are commonly taught and widely accepted. We find that there is usually no scripture given whatsoever to support the adoption of these principles. In researching the sources of these teachings on the internet, we only found one case where the writer used scripture to help make his point, and in that case the scripture reference was incorrect.

Let me repeat that for you because it's very important. We are going to identify several widely taught and commonly accepted principles of Bible study for which there is simply no scriptural support offered. They are man made principles, the product of man's wisdom.

Secondly, to make things worse, The Bible consistently teaches the opposite of what these principles teach. For this reason we have used the phrase 'sacred cow' to describe these ideas. To clarify this term, here is a definition.

Sacred Cow: Anything which has been protected regardless of circumstance. The term 'sacred cow' has come to mean any stubborn loyalty to a long standing institution which impedes natural progress. The term originates in India where the cow is said to be literally worshipped while thousands of humans suffer from undernourishment. Adapted from "Cultural Literacy" by E. D. Hirsch, Jr.

What are these principles? First and foremost [or worst and foremost] is Literalism. The Law of Literal Interpretation. Next is the Law of Context. Following that and to a lesser degree of severity are The Historical Approach, and the attempt to achieve Interpretive Unity or Systematic Theology. The root error behind all of these is the attempt to find and use a method to interpret God's word rather than rely on the Holy Spirit.

These all qualify as sacred cows. They are quite stubbornly adhered to. [Just read some of the literature and you will see what I mean.] They lead to wrong conclusions and prevent the student from reaching correct ones. We quoted Luke 11:52 above which mentions that the lawyers [alleged experts in the law] have taken away the 'key of knowledge'. In Jesus' day, these were the experts in the Law of Moses, the Torah, and the other scriptures. Today they are well known bible teachers, scholars, seminary professors and best selling writers.

They do not arrive at or demonstrate any real knowledge themselves and they prevent others from doing so. The consequences of this can be dreadful. In Hosea 4 it says:

Ho 4:6 My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee,

The quote from Luke above mentions the Key of Knowledge. Later we'll take a look at a couple examples of keys of knowledge and see exactly how they are taken away by following these principles. Now we will look at these four principles. As they are closely related and used to support each other, please understand that we may need to repeat ourselves at some point in our critique.

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